tv The Situation Room CNN June 9, 2012 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
me to inform you that you will be admitted to the class. harvard is giving her a full ride scholarship. you can read more about her story, by logging on to cnn.com. see you back here in atlanta. "the situation room" with wolf blitzer begins right now. you're in "the situation room." my one on one interview with former president bill clinton. what he tells me he's sorry for, why he doesn't think he has to be hostile to mitt romney and what trait his daughter got from him. plus president obama's david -- the romney campaign gets its chance to respond to all of this. my interview with the junior advisor to the romney campaign.
we want to kel come our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer you're in "the situation room". ment obama sounding an urgent note about the u.s. economy and the new risks it faces from europe's growing cries. he warns that so-called head winds from europe can setback the recover in the united states. he says the u.s. businesses are improving and creating jobs but he's pressing congress to take action on the public sector. >> the big challenge we have in our economy right now is state and local government hiring has been going in the wrong direction. you've seen teacher layoffs, police officers, cops,
firefighters being laid off. the other sector that's still weak has been the construction industry. those two areas we've directly addressed with our jobs plan. the problem is that it requires congress to take action and we're going to keep pushing them to see if they can move in that direction. the truth of the matter is as i said we've created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months. over 800,000 just this year alone. the private sector is doing fine. where we're seeing weaknesses in our economy had to do with state and local government. >> the president of the united states speaking at a news conference on friday. now my indepth interview with former president bill clinton. i sat down with him at the clinton global initiative in chicago and he began by repeatedly apologizing for comments he made about the
so-called bush tax cuts that seemingly contradicted the president. >> mr. president, thanks very much for allowing us to come here to your cgi, the clinton global initiative. we're going to talk about that. i know you've got major initiatives, you want to help four million americans. we'll talk specifically about what you have in mind. but let's get to the issues right now, the economy, jobs. you've caused a stir, as you know, by appearing to suggest that you would be open to temporarily extending the bush tax cuts even for the wealthiest americans in that cnbc interview. you backed off of it a little later, but where do you stand right now, if necessary, to keep the economy robust? >> well, first of all, i don't think it's necessary to keep the economy robust. what i was saying yesterday, which is apparently not accurate, is that if this fiscal
cliff comes through the president and the congress and the country before the elicks, he can't afford to give up his position, and he shouldn't, that we're going to have to have some new revenues to deal with this debt long term and we ought to begin to ask those in high income groups to pay taxes. i support that position, i always have. but the republicans may not feel they can afford to indirectly ratify it. i was talking about whether they needed to put it off after the election, but they still have until the first of the year. if they had until the first of the year in any case to deal with this, there's no problem. they both have their positions. and they'll have to decide how to resolve it by the first of the year, but the election won't intervene and therefore i regret that all this stirring up is happening, because that's what i was thinking about. i was under the impression somebody had to be done before the election.
>> the president has flatly said he would veto any extension of the bush tax cuts for individuals making more than $200,000 a year and families making more than $250,000 a year. he's extended it a few times now, but that was the last time. he says he won't do it again. >> i support his position, and i think on the merits upper income people are going to have to contribute to the long-term debt reduction. you get the debt down with three things. economic growth, appropriate spending restraint and adequate revenue stream. and what he's trying to say is that we've got to have all three. and so, i support his position. but we really -- i'm very sorry about what happened yesterday. it was what i thought something had to be done on a fiscal cliff before the election. apparently nothing has to be done until the first of the year. so i think he should just stick
with his position. >> during the lame duck session, after the election if he's re-elected or if romney wins, that's when they'll have to deal with the bush tax cuts, all of them, including the middle class, will go back to the rates that existed during your admission. >> and those rates, the problem with that is, and why i think they should be extended for the bottom 98%, is that median income after inflation is lower than it was the day i left office. so those people who would be affected by that, many, many of them have had know income increases in a decade while their costs have gone up. you would have an economic impact. it would be bad for the economy if those folks in the bottom 98% had to shoulder a tax increase
now. it would be difficult. >> i want to be precise. what you're saying is that you would not extend the tax cuts for the welliest americans, even though some economists say that could slow down economic growth during these troubled times. >> yes because i think it would precipitate a long-term debt reduction deal. i think if we phase it in slowly, you don't have too much bite on the front end, that will actually help us long term. and keep in mind, the congress in saying this has to account for the fact that we have, in the last 27 months, 4.3 million more private sector jobs, but we've lost 600,000 public sector jobs in part because they
declined to pass the president's jobs plan so they wouldn't have to layoff. >> there's no daylight between you and the president? >> no. i really was under the impression that they would have to do something before the election. and i was trying to figure out how they would kick it to last the election. once i realized nothing had to be done until the first of the year, i support his position. i supported him last year, but i think his position is the right one and necessary if we're ever going to get a exrensive deal. >> the other issue was when you told harvey weinstein that mitt romney was qualified to be president, this coming after all the ads going after him. >> that's two different things. you can be a successful business person.
and if you're governor of a state and you're 35 years old and you're born in a america, you're by definition qualified to be president. >> you suggested his qualifications were good. >> yes. but in the same sentence, very cleverly, i said he shouldn't be elected because his ideas and policies i don't think are good for america. >> and you later said it would be clam tus if he were elected. >> if he were elected and implemented the policies that he's advocated. keep in mind, from my point of view, the best thing he did when he was governor was sign that health care bill that he's now renounced. >> he has renounced the president's health care bill. >> with the same idea in it. if you look at it, it's splitting a pretty thin hair. and the experience of massachusetts proves that if you have an individual mandate and you take the sand out of the
gears of people shifting cost, it will slow down inflation and we can get ahold of health care costs better. but i think that it's not what he's running on. he's running on repeeling the president's bill, on repealing the commitment energy, which is a big part of why we're getting manufacturing jobs back today. basically that budget that every person says add 1tor $2 trillion to the debt over the next decade. and having austerity now and bigger deficits in the odd years which is exactly what he should be doing. if he implemented what he says, it would be bad for the american economy. that's what i think. >> we're going to have much more of my interview with the former president of the under bill clinton, i'll ask him what he thinks about mitt romney.
stand by for that. also, david axelrod is in the situation. the white house deliberately leaked classified information for political gain. then it's the romney's campaign turn to respond is to all of this. my interview with eric furnish strum. that's come up this hour as well. my bad. tell me you have good insurance. yup, i've got... [ voice of dennis ] ...allstate. really? i was afraid you'd have some cut-rate policy. [ normal voice ] nope, i've got... [ voice of dennis ] the allstate value plan. it's their most affordable car insurance -- and you still get an allstate agent. i too have... [ voice of dennis ] allstate. [ normal voice ] same agent and everything. it's like we're connected. no we're not. yeah, we are. no...we're not. ♪ ask an allstate agent about the value plan.
offer ends soon. book right now at travelocity.com. former president bill clinton is never afraid to say what's on his mind. we talked about that and more in my interview. >> some of your critics have said you know, the former president is undermining the current president for whatever reason. >> well, look. in 2008, when he ran for president, and defeated hilary in the primaries, i did 40 events for him. 40 in the election. in 2012 i have done these major fund raisers.
i have spoken up for him whenever i could. i have told people repeatedly. i think he's done a good job, a really good job under very trying circumstances. and better than some people give him credit for. and i strongly committed to his re-election. and i just regret that i -- you know, my instinct. you know me, i don't think i should have to say bad things about governor romney personally to disagree with him politically. the fact that i was complementary of his success as a business person doesn't mean that i think that he should be elected and president obama shouldn't. if you look at this book i wrote, "the american economy," it's the one reason we're here, you can be successful in business and this has been true for 35 years, if your shareholders do will. you can only be successful as president if the shareholders, the employees, the customers and the communities do well.
all the constituencies of market economics. >> i covered your presidency for eight years, and you worked with business business. you're doing that here at the cgi. you've got a lot of representatives, major fortune 500 companies. but the criticism of a president is that he's alienated some of these big business types, wall street saying things that weren't favorable, many of them who supported him in 2008 are running away from him now. >> but if you look at what he's actually done, if you look at the tax policies, the regulatory policies he's actually pursued, they were either necessary -- we had to have higher capital requirements on bank lending after that financial meltdown. you can't have people taking the kind of risks that were taken. but he has -- even now he's got
another small business tax cut pending before congress as part of his economic plan for people that are hiring new employees. >> i don't think much is going to happen between now and the election. >> no. but he's had this out there for more than a year. it's just if you look at his record as opposed to what people say, what the republicans say about him, i think he has been, you know, quite moderate and very interested in getting business input. look at the business counsel he's got. i'm quite impressed by the range of businesspeople on this council. he's obviously interested in their opinions, their input and what their policies' suggestions are. i don't buy that he's anti-business. he's, he has some differences from people who believe that the financial crisis we went through, and the burdens the american people still bear
because of it, these things don't justify any increased requirements of oversight. i think they do. i think that we know, about the capitalism tendency to implode. this will be good for the economy to minimize the kind of risks that cause the meltdown last time. >> what do you think about mitt romney? >> i told you what i thought. i've said many times i had a good encounter with him when he tried to save the amer corp. program. i listen very carefully to what these republicans said in the primary and to the antitax activist when he said it would be fine with him if govern or romney got elected because all he needed to do was sign his name. they were going to run things out of the tea party house.
it's troubling to me, because i think if you look at greece, if you look at the united kingdom, where the world is today, the people who say austerity and unemployment now and then will balloon the debt later and have higher interest rates and will never recover, that's basically the republican platform. it's the same platform. euro zone which the europeans are now trying to get out of. >> more later, bill clinton gets personal about his daughter saying she has her father's energy and her mother's brains and character. and is the white house allowing leaks of sensitive classified information in order to score political points to try and help the president get re-elected? i'll ask the chief strategist for the obama campaign, david axelrod.
computer attacks on iran, a presidential hit list of terror targets and a foiled bomb plot. the fbi investigating a series of leaks about covert. the white house strongly denies claims that it was behind the leaks. the house intelligence committee chairman says the media have been allowed in classified briefings. i spoke about that with david axelrod. >> mike rogers the chairman of the intelligence committee, the congressman, he's suggesting very pointedly, like other republicans, that the obama administration is leaking classified information to help the president get re-elected. i'll play a clip for you. >> the committee has material suggesting that the agencies were directed to expand the
scope of classified information they gave to the press. we know in some cases someone from a segment of the media was present in a classified setting. >> all right. that's a pretty sharp statement. what do you say? >> i say that's nonsense. this administration has no interest in leaking classified information. we don't want to see it leaked from capitol hill, we don't want to see it leaked from the administration. it's not helpful. so now the fact is that there are leaks. and sometimes we're confronted with those leaks and we're asked about those leaks. that's a different situation. but i wholly discount that. >> and you totally reject this notion that there have been authorized leaks of classified information in order to help bolster the president's chances, to make him look strong -- >> i would reject that, but the
inti mags is the story has been helpful to the president. we're not the source of those stories. >> and this notion that john mccain wants a special council to come in and start investing. >> i think that nobody benefits from leaks of classified material, and, you know, it shouldn't happen. and you know, we would welcome anybody to look at anything. >> let's talk about the former president of the united states, bill clinton. he's now apologized. he's expressed regret. said he didn't fully understand the nature of the question when he said the bush tax cuts maybe should be temporarily extended even though the president says they shouldn't be. >> i'm not asking for an apology. i have deep add miration for him. they should listen to bill clinton. he was the president in the
early '90s who said we have to do something about the deficits and it's going to mean the well think will have to pay more. not one republican supported him he went and got it down and we had a decade of growth and expansion. two unfunded wars an unfunded tax cuts and they left for this president a huge deficits and an economic crisis. so they should listen to president clinton. he was right back in the '90s. he's right now. we should be investing in education and research and development and energy and the kinds of things that will grow our economy, not going back to the policies of the last decade. >> but did he cause your campaign, the re-election campaign some heartburn by suggesting that mitt romney's sterling reputation at ban capital coming off the heels of the ads. >> the question he answered, wolf, is he qualified. no one is doubting that mitt romney is qualified to be
president. the question is, is he qualified himself to call himself a job creator, is he qualified to call himself the economic oracle that he does when he ran a business that doesn't reflect that and his record in massachusetts was so poor in terms of job creation. that's what we're questioning. not whether he has the technical qualifications. >> but you're not suggesting that he did have a sterling reputation. >> i think he had a great record for making money for himself and his paernts. he did not have a great record on job kree yaitsation, when you take companies to bankruptcy while the workers and creditors are left holding the bag, it's not good economic policy and it's not right. >> in fairness, there were some companies that he helped establish, sports authority -- >> he made minor investments in these companies, and walked away from them with a profit and then
later they created jobs. but here are companies that he went in, his group took over, loaded them with debt and in several cases took them to bankruptcy, and yes, he profited from that. but certainly the work certifications didn't, the community didn't, the economy didn't. >> david axelrod from the obama campaign. we're going to get reaction to what we just heard from eric fern strom. our chief political coespondent is standing by. what was mitt romney like as governor of massachusetts? we'll hear from some of his former colleagues. ♪
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us with a reaction. i spoke about both interviews with senior advisor eric fehrnstrom. >> thanks for coming in. i want to give you a chance to respond first of all to what david axelrod said here in the situation a little while ago. >> i think he had a great record for making money for himself and his partners. he did not have a great record on job creation. when you take companies to bankruptcy, load them with debt, walk away with millions of dollars while the workers and creditors are left holding the bag, that may look good in terms of your balance sheet but it's not good economic policy and it's not right. >> he was talking about mitt romney. let me give you a chance to respond to axelrod. >> sure, wolf. thank you for having me on. i can tell you that governor romney is proud of his business record. and by the way, so is bill clinton. bill clinton called mitt romney's career in the private
sector sterling. we agree with him. today the governor was in st. louis. he gave a speech defending free enterprise. he says it's a moral imperative in this bad economy. governor romney want to do what he can to promote a friendly business environment that is conduestive to economic expansion and job growth. >> bill clinton did say here that mitt romney had a sterling record at bian capital and he was qualified to be president of the united states. but he went on to say it would be calam tus because of the policies he is pushing for right now. >> i can tell thank you, wolf, that when the president came out and said that mitt romney's business career was sterling, i think he was speaking from the heart. at the end of the day, bill
clinton is a good democrat. he's endorsed the president, he's going to be with the president. but i think his voice and the voice of other leading democrats are significant in that they have signalled their unhappiness with the president's re-election strategy of attacking bain capital and risk profit and free enterprise. that's one of the reasons why governor romney thought it was important to go to st. louis and give a strong speech in defense of free enterprise. >> in the interview we've been airing with the former president, bill clinton, he did say nice things about mitt romney on certain issues. he liked what he did on amer care, for example, and he also liked what then-governor mitt romney did in promoting health care reform. listen to what clinton said. >> the best thing he did when he was governor was sign that health care bill that he's now renounc renounced. >> he hasn't renounced his
health care bill, he's renounced the president's health care bill. >> with the same idea in it. but when you look at it, that's a pretty -- that's splitting a pretty thin hair. >> you just heard the former president bill clinton say he liked what governor romney did in massachusetts as governor in promoting health care reform because he says it's basically the same thing that president obama did in promoting health care reform for the nation. >> well, what we did or what governor romney did in massachusetts represented a state solution to a state problem. under our federalist system, we encourage states to experiment and to come up with solutions to the unique problems that they face. but what works in massachusetts doesn't necessarily work in texas or california. what president obama did, by imposing a one size fits all health care solution out of washington on the entire country was wrong, and that's why governor romney has pledged from day one of his administration,
if elected, to appeal obama care and the higher taxes that go along with it, the entitlement and of course the intrusion on the sovereign right of states to come up with solutions to their own problems. >> you also heard president clinton really express his frustration and irritation that mitt romney and other top republicans have not condemned congressman alan west for saying that there are 78 to 81 members among the communist parties among the house democrats. >> that's not a point of view that's shared by governor romney. i can tell you that. this election isn't about what allen west said. this election is about 23 million americans who are either out of work or underemployed. they're looking for a president who has the right policies, the right qualifications and experience to lead on the number one issues facing us, which is jobs and economy.
you saw what happened in wisconsin just recently. that was first and foremost a vote of confidence in scott walker's leadership as governor, but what scott walker did in wisconsin was to take on some big issues, and as a result of doing that successfully, he got the budget on the right track, he's got the economy moving in the right direction. when governor romney says that echos beyond the borders of wisconsin, what he means is that americans are going to be looking for that same leadership on the budget and in the economy in washington. >> eric fehrnstrom speaking to me from the romney campaign. we're going to go in depth with our chief political correspondent candy crowley. she's standing by. also more of my interview with former president bill clinton. wait until you hear what he has to say about his daughter, chels chelsea. thanks for babysitting the kids, brittany.
let's discuss what we just heard. our chief political correspondent candy crowley, the host of cnn's "state of the union" is here. a big uproar over the leaks. the president on friday was adamant. listen to this. >> the notion that my white house would purposely release classified national security information is offensive. it's wrong, and you know, people i think need to have a better sense of how i approach this office and how the people around me here approach this office. >> all right. you know, he's firm on that, but the other side is insisting john
mccain among others, these are deliberately designed to try and make him look good. >> a couple of things. first of all it seems like something personal is going on between him and the president. this rhetoric over these leaks. and second of all, a leak not coming from the white house, doesn't mean it didn't come from someone in the administration. it's a big place. and the president is right to take offense at that. because every one has said, democrats and republicans, as you know, had a news conference this week together, the chairman of the intelligence committees said this has to stop. this was dangerous. the president, both politically and practically speaking, you're sending a mess ajs, i take this job seriously, that's offensive. >> when you have diane fine stein, the chair -- the democrat and republican, they are furious, you know you've got a problem they have to deal with. >> yeah. >> on the economy, on friday
when the president called the news conference at the white house briefing room, he came out and he spoke about the urgency but he said past legislation that he's introduced a long time ago. i didn't hear any new additions. >> no. not only that, the president understands that this isn't going to happen. these are things that he introduced in september. >> he's just doing this for political points? >> i think he wants some passed, if that's the question. but he also knows they're not going to. you're out there and saying to america and to congress, listen, i'm trying, but they are not, or you are not. i think one of the slip dpts ups that we find is the president saying the private sector is doing okay because that's what the republicans all lept on. >> i'm not so sure that's true. but that's an issue -- >> the republicans loved that in particular. >> they were immediately pounced on that. bill clinton, asset or liability in this re-election campaign for
the president of the united states? >> he's an asset. first of all he has very high numbers nationwide. >> much higher than the president. >> yes, higher than the president and higher than probably the democratic party. he's the former president of the united states, he gets to say what he wants. i don't buy that he didn't know when these tax, the bush tax cuts would expire. also when would you think tax cuts would expire? at the end of the tax year, which is the 31st, at least for normal people not for businesses, always. nonetheless, he gets to say what he wants. he clearly felt the need and the pressure to try and clean it p. but i think he is one of those folks as a former, you know feels free to say what he thinks. what he thinks is that a is bane was a good company and romney ran it well and he doesn't think the president ought to be going after bane. he probably thinks that the tax cuts given the economy, ought to
all be renewed. >> did you notice the pivot from the obama campaign after clinton said he had a sterling record, all of a sudden they're focusing on romney's record in massachusetts. >> true i think this was in the plan. we're going to go after his record as governor, but i suspect the bane stuff because it didn't just come from former president clinton. let's not attack the private industry, let's go after other things. >> we'll see you sunday morning 9:00 eastern. they say mitt romney ran his fate like a business. is that a good thing or bad thing. and bill clinton says she has her father's energy and her mother's brains and character. the former president gets personal about his daughter, chelsea. for three hours a week, i'm a coach.
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mitt romney's record as massachusetts governor has been a target for the obama campaign, but what what was his term really like? we sent jim accosti here in massachusetts, state law makers say romney's ceo style sometimes worked for him, but sometimes worked against him. >> it's one of mitt romney's favorite selling points, that as governor of massachusetts, he worked with a mostly democratic legislature to tackle the problems. >> it did not take a rocket scientist to figure out if i was
going to do anything as governor, i had to have a working relationship with the democrats. >> but inside the massachusetts state house, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle don't see it quite that way. >> it was all business, it was all about policy. >> rob headland the number two republican romney was more of a ceo governor. romney carried out his agenda, such as cutting programs and raising fees to balance the budget using a staff filled with outsiders from the business word. >> some democrats up here begrudgingly, privately will admit that. he had a lot of great talented people that he surrounded himself with who got the job done. >> reporter: legislators say not all of the changes were in the law. take the elevators. >> he took over the elevator for the west wing of the building because he kept it only for his staff and him. >> i'm positive it was always this elevator. because it's the closest to his
office. >> reporter: democratic lawmakers are still miffed to this day that romney belonged off one state house elevator specifically for his office, something that hadn't been done before. >> when romney came in, he treated government like the only thing he knew, which was business big, and he was the ceo of a big business. >> many people said good riddance. don't let the door hit you on the way out. >> reporter: that's what they said around here? >> absolutely. >> but governors aren't ceos. >> reporter: mike widner says romney did set aside that ceo style to pass health care reform. a law so important to his legacy, it's visible in his state portrait. but widmer says other efforts sputtered. >> health care, i'd give him an a. economy and as job creator and that entire effort, c-minus. >> reporter: on the state house steps, romney's successor noted
he has his own approach. >> you reopened the elevator and took down the velvet ropes? >> i'm a governor of, for, and with the people. so we have a very different style in that respect. >> the romney campaign says security concerns after 9/11 were also part of the reason for giving the former governor his own elevator when he was in state house. as for those hard feelings among some state democrats, the romney campaign chocks that up to election time loyalties to the president. children changing the environment. that and more coming up. also, bill clinton's secret to staying fit and healthy after his heart surgery. [ male announcer ] citi turns 200 this year.
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here's a look at this hour's hot shots. in poland, warsaw residents take up a moment to pray during the annual corpus christi celebrations. in colombia, a spotter helps a man lift a makeshift concrete weight in a park. in brazil, children help transform an old dump into an ecological park by planting trees. in kenya, two orphaned cubs are held in cabtivety after being rescued by wildlife changers. hot shots, pictures coming in from around the world.
my interview with former president bill clinton wasn't just all about politics and policy. it was also a little bit about his family. and when we talked about his daughter chelsea, his face lit up. >> let's talk about the clinton global initiative. this is an important meeting that you're having. you do a lot of work around the world. now you're doing work here in the united states. and i was intrigued that chelsea, your daughter, she's here now, too. what do you want her to do here? what is her role? >> well first, she is an active producer in our foundation of activities. she's on a number of the foundation boards overseeing health care. she's very interested in cgi. she knows a lot about the economy. she's done a lot of work in it. and so we tried to get her involved in all of our things. her role is always something that's to discuss between her
and our cgi staff. but she knows a lot about work force preparedness. she knows a lot about saving companies in trouble and reopening them. >> i raise the question because i've known her since she was 13 years old when you guys came to washington. and last night, i was at the kennedy center at the vital voices event, which helps women around the world. and she made a presentation there. and i looked at her and i saw in her eyes as i was watching her, she was very impressive. i saw the best of bill clinton and the best of hillary clinton in chelsea clinton. and you've probably seen that as well. i wonder if you want to talk a little bit about that. >> oh, i'm really proud of her. i think she's a fine person. the most important thing to me. and she's smart, caring, able, and determined.
i think she's terrific. and i've got a great son-in-law, which is always a good thing to like your in laws. so i want her to do whatever she wants to do. but i'm really grateful now with this work she's doing on television and the work she does at nyu and the college course she's teaching at columbia, that she's still willing to be so act initiative our foundation activities. she really cares about this stuff and she's helped me do a lot of work at the foundation, tried to improve the managements and just managed our massive growth. it's fun. i'm grateful to her. >> she's got the best of her mom, the best of her dad. >> yeah, she got her father's energy and her brothers brains and character. she's something. >> we're out of time. how do you feel? >> great. as far as i know, i'm doing fine. i really feel good. >> still on that diet? >> still on the diet.
yeah, i'm trying to make it, you know, as long as i can here. >> no meat, no chicken -- >> no dairy. >> no dairy. and i'm trying to eat less white -- >> what does that mean? >> no processed bread. fewer potatoes. less rice. you know, fewer cashes that turn into sugar in your body. when you get older and particularly if you've had heart problems, you got to be really sensitive to things you eat -- not just sugar, but that turn into sugar in your body, because this diabetes problem, people become more vulnerable to prediabetic conditions when they get older, and now because of childhood obesity, we have a lot of kids who are developing type 2 diabetes. so i watch that all pretty